Sunday, April 27, 2008

"I must not intervene in other countries"

It's a lesson that comes home to anyone who has observed U.S. foreign policy for long enough to see patterns, be it Asia, Latin America or even Europe: in every country our government has intervened politics have become hopelessly polarized. A blogger I've added to my regular reading, An Arab Woman Blues, tells it succinctly in a recent post on Iraq.

Layla, of whom I only know that she is "an Arab woman," that she is educated, multilingual, sometimes a tad frothy, a woman with anger to bristling to be "blues," as she titles them. I found her recent post, offering snippets of commentary from obviously middle or middle-upper class Iraqis in Baghdad full of items worth remembering about Iraq.

In particular, I was amused by the following:
Overall, most Baghdadis he met, both Sunnis and Shias are totally fed up with the Mullahs and their doctrines. Most Iraqis really want a "secular country" and a "secular government." (Well they had a secular country before their "liberation" - bunch of Idiots!)
According to my understanding, the Baathist Party (which flourished in Syria as well as Iraq), has been a pan-Arabist, secular, anti-Communist, social democratic and modernizing movement. This explains why Saddam Hussein brought about one of the most modern public-health systems in the Middle East, which earned him a UNESCO award.

However, if you examine Layla's admittedly unscientific sampling of opinions, you clearly get the idea that Iraq has gone from a strongman who was laying the foundational ground for progress, admittedly at some civic cost, to bands of extremist traditionalists.

In other words, all the U.S. invasion has achieved is the decapitation of a regime and its replacement with ... nothing. The middle class is fleeing, fled, or -- as Layla's relative found -- merely keeping their head down.

Nature, and politics, abhor a vacuum. Yet the U.S. diplomatic-military establishment keeps creating vacuums that suck in the worst of the worst. It was done in El Salvador, Vietnam, attempted in Chad and now in Iraq.

There are literally hundreds of other examples, which I pointed out before here and here in posts with themes depressingly similar to this one. So, Uncle Sam, you get to stay in detention this afternoon and write the title of this post on the blackboard 100 times.
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